Countdown to Joash's 6th Birthday

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Countdown to Jayna's 5th Birthday

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Countdown to Jaide's Birthday

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Countdown to Joram's Birthday

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Strider Bike

We bought the strider bike a couple of weeks ago but our weekends have so far been extremely packed. Thus, today is the first Saturday when we finally have some spare time to assemble the bike and let Joash have a go at it. 

As I have predicted, he quickly got the hang of it. Thankfully, I had the foresight NOT to get one for Jayna since her gross motor skills are sorely lacking. She did whine to try it though. But as I expected, she lost interest in it after mere seconds of attempting to ride. I guess Joash and Jayna are really created diametrically opposite in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. It makes me wonder how Jaide would grow up to be...

Row Your Boat

The children, especially Jayna, love to sit on my lap together and rock with me to the tune of "Row row row your boat". Here's a short clip of it. As you can see, I seriously don't think I have space for another kid on board. LOL

End of Term 1

We've successfully completed the first book of the Chinese syllabus 四五快读! *applause* Joash has learnt nearly a hundred Chinese characters in less than 4 months, granted that 10% of those words need more revision to stick.

Since Jayna learns side by side with her brother during his portion of the lesson, she has advanced even faster. The words that she has to remember in her nursery syllabus are 'no kick' for her at all. I even had to buy a new N1 book for her last month cos she completed the first one so quickly. In fact, I might have to go on to N2 material after she's done with the current one...

As for bible study, I'm always so glad whenever Joash tells me that the session was fun. It truly makes my day when he recaps to Daddy in all excitement when he comes home in the evening. I do try to make an effort to be creative in the way I drive home the message but sometimes I wonder if the children merely remember the activity rather than the biblical principle behind it. I suppose that is really up to the Holy Spirit to convict them.

Below is a video of my revision of the Chinese words learnt using flash cards. The whole process was rather long so I edited out most of it especially the parts when Jayna interrupted and when Joash fidgeted a lot. The camera could not pick up the sound very well since the mic was facing the wrong direction and Joash spoke very softly most of the time but you get the idea.

The homeschooling is going much better than I had expected and I praise God for the wonderful progress. I look forward to the day when Joash can read a Chinese book entirely on his own and, more importantly, eventually accepts Christ as His Lord and Savior!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Gift To You

It is next to impossible to get a video of any sort of performance from my kids as they're strangely camera-shy. So I was absolutely delighted when they agreed to let me take a video of this song that has been one of their favorites since learning it in Sunday School. Frankly, this is far from their usual standard as they normally sing with better musicality and accuracy of pitch. But it is already a major accomplishment to even manage a recording in the first place!

As with most things (learning academically or memorizing verses), Jayna has a better grasp of the lyrics while Joash sings with much more sincerity. I love singing this song with my children too as it reminds us that our lives belong to God and we are to live it solely for Him. Here's the full lyrics to the song:

A Gift To You

(Verse 1)
Everything I am, Everything I'll be
I give it to You Lord
And do it thankfully, thankfully

Every song I sing, Every praise I bring
Every thing I do, It's a gift to You

(Verse 2)
Everything I have, All You've given me
I'll give it to You Lord,
And do it thankfully, thankfully

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mini Home-improvements

Recently, I upgraded some little things around the house to increase effectiveness and efficiency. I pride myself on being a professional homemaker so I constantly think of ways to improve the way we organise things in the house.

2 and a half years ago, I had already bought a dish rack that will keep my dishes neat and out of the way. (Click here for a post about it.) And we got the Ikea toy shelf which is still a wonderful way to keep all the kids' toys, though we've had since added an Ikea book shelf for the expanding library of children's books and readers.

This year, we'd shifted the toy shelf to the living room so that I could create a classroom setting in one section of the kid's room free of distractions for homeschooling and mounted a white board for teaching purposes. I also noticed that quite a lot of the cooking utensils I had hanging at my stove area were rarely used and were mostly collecting dust so I cleaned them and kept them in the drawers instead. Now, my cooking area is much less cluttered.

Previously, the towels in our bathroom were hung up using giant hangers placed on suction cup hooks. However, having to keep taking the hanger up and down whenever we want to use the towels was a constant hassle. We do not want to drill holes into our tiles so I finally found suction cup towel bars.

This is just so much easier...

The kids' plastic crockery and cutlery have always been kept in a small Ikea box and placed on the dining table so that they can set the table themselves and be trusted to put them back in the box after washing. However, with 3 kids now and the addition of soup bowls and spoons, the box has become too crowded to properly dry them. When Jayna finally complained to me that her cup stinks because it was not well-aired, I knew it was time to upgrade it.

The kids have their very own dish rack.

With an increase in the number of family members, it has become rather tedious to keep boiling water throughout the day. We eventually thought it a good investment to get a water filter. No more being irritated when someone forgets to boil water after emptying the water jug and having to wait for the boiled water to cool or mixing in cold water/ice to bring it to a drinkable temperature.

I simply love the chrome version!

The filing system that I used to have on my chest of drawers had become rather cluttered. Most of the paper work there were a legacy from my single days! We realised that we needed a new system for our documents and thus we threw away rusty ring files and dusty document trays, burned the old confidential materials and bought box files for the papers.

The space is cleared for other things

We've recently also said goodbye to an old laser printer which had been with Joshua since before we dated. We're left with the color printer which is enough for all our scanning and printing purposes. It was pretty inconvenient with one printer stacked on top of the other. I guess the old one had sentimental value to my husband and he finally could bear to part with it after much persuasion. :P

I remember that when I was a kid, I used to think that my future husband would be the handyman in the house, just like my Dad was. But thinking back on the past 5 years of marriage, I was the one who fixed the lights, installed appliances, changed the faucets, toilet seats, water sprays etc, re-applied the kitchen and bathroom sealant, spray-painted the walls to make them look as good as new, assembled the furniture and upgraded various things around the house. And the amazing thing is: I enjoy doing all these stuff!

My husband always feels very embarrassed that I have to be the one to do all the handyman work but I keep telling him that not every wife has a husband who is the 24 hour IT help-desk that he is. All that computer stuff e.g. wifi, surveillance cameras and software troubleshooting are way out of my league. I'm just happy that we are doing what we excel in and ends up fully complementing each other.

After all, as a professional homemaker, fixing things in the home is simply part of my job. :)

London Bridge

Joash and the bridge he built

Jayna: "Mummy, I made a bridge too... I think."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dinner Entertainment

Getting used to doing dinner and the bedtime routine alone with the kids, I find myself more relaxed and having the presence of mind to take videos of cute happenings to show Joshua when he finally comes home. It is not uncommon for Joash to dote on Jaide since he is an affectionate big brother by nature but it really warms my heart when Jayna, who is mostly self-absorbed, finally brings herself to amuse her little sister for a while. Watch the above video to see the children's own version of "peek-a-boo". *grin*

More Creations

Here are more simple creations by my beloved son. The above shows a gorgeous rainbow probably inspired by the story about Noah's ark from the previous day's bible study. I love the way he draws the clouds. They somehow have a 3D effect. Those stickmen are Joash and his friends in class whom he affectionately calls "his children". I'm trying to teach him to refer to them as "his classmates/friends" instead. :P

He really loves the building blocks too. I didn't get to take a picture of the airplanes he created which looked more like space battleships and the complex vehicles he constructed, but I did manage to capture a shot of the carpark and animal pen he built. Pretty systematic, don't you think? *wink*

The creature, made up of blocks, is supposed to be a cat. LOL

Monday, April 9, 2012

Church Weddings

Showing off his work

One of the most common activity we have on Saturdays is attending weddings. In fact, we even have boots which the children wear only to weddings! (And clothes, too, for that matter, but those we don't wear all the time.)

Today, Joash drew the above picture and told me that it was a church wedding. (We just went to one some 3 weeks ago) I was really impressed as the picture really looks like one of the churches we went to, complete with the stained-glass window in the middle, the cross and the potted plant on the right. Even the handles on the door look pretty authentic.

But note that the bride and groom are missing. Now we know what REALLY speaks to him whenever we attend church weddings... LOL

Earring Stunt

I did this with Jayna before and now Jaide suffers the same fate. Bwahahahaha...

Jaide: "What are you trying to do, Mummy?"

The close-up of my earrings hanging on her ears